AMAZING ANGKOR STREET PHOTOGRAPHY OLD STYLE CERRONE AUSTRALIAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S WORLD CLASS JEWELLER BORDER ANTICS TREASURE TROVE IN SINGAPORE
eMag Number 10
Contact Lucia today to plan your next adventure firstname.lastname@example.org www.nomadssecrets.com 1300 670 000 (Australia) +61 (1) 400 741 930 (Worldwide) 1 888 408 2480 (USA and Canada)
AMAZING ANGKOR STREET PHOTOGRAPHY OLD STYLE
contents Fellow Traveller is a periodic eMag published by Nomads Secrets and dedicated to the Art of Exploration. Lucia O’Connell Founder Tony Sernack Editor Will Farge Design Tony Sernack Photography
WELCOME TO FELLOW TRAVELLER
BORDER ANTICS TREASURE TROVE IN SINGAPORE
eMag Number 10
eMag Number 10
GLORIOUS ANGKOR Exploring the temples of Cambodia
I WITNESS, SRI LANKA Singular views from around the world
CERONNE, AUSTRALIA’S WORLD CLASS JEWELLER
CERRONE Australia's world class jeweller
I WITNESS, FRANCE Singular views from around the world
STREET PHOTOGRAPHY 19th century style in Jaipur, India
TREASURE TROVE The extraordinary cargo of an ancient shipwreck
I WITNESS, ITALY Singular views from around the world
BIZARRE AT THE BORDER! Pakistan and India’s daily flag lowering ceremony 3
Welcome to Nomads Secrets and
owards a plastic free future.
In the last year or so plastic pollution, particularly in our oceans, has really started to seriously enter people's consciousness across the globe. Recent documentaries, like Blue that premiered at last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sydney Film Festival, graphically and plainly highlight the problem. With half of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s marine life lost in the last 40 years, the effects of plastic pollution and overfishing are a devastating mix. Some 8 million tonnes of plastic waste find their way into our oceans each year and break down only into microplastic particles that find their way into the food chain from plankton through fish and then to us!
On our travels we have seen plastic pollution along the shorelines and in the waterways of many countries and in some of the most beautiful places in the world. The issue is most evident in Asia, Africa and the Subcontinent, but is sadly ubiquitous as plastic has become so integrated into almost every product and package that we use. Most recently we were in Cambodia. We spent time on Tonle Sap Lake visiting its floating villages and fishing communities. This major fresh water source is near the amazing temple complexes of Angkor, which Tony Sernack has photographed and written about in this issue of Fellow Traveller. All along the bank from where the boats load and leave to venture out onto the lake, there are stacks on plastic bottled water to cater for the tourists. We were told by our guide that each tourist, especially the ones on luxury excursions, use an average of ten bottles of water a day. Every time they return from an excursion to the car they are offered a new cooler bottle of water regardless of whether they have finished the bottle they have with them. We refused and had our own refillable water bottles from the hotel. When we were there, the lake was low and the shoreline was littered with these same bottles, plastic bags and other detritus. As we have done in other places, we asked our hosts what could be done to educate the
Travelling with Nomads Secrets
We create highly customised trips and meticulously planned itineraries that reveal the world through the eyes of our local and trusted experts. You will experience the true essence and very best of the places you visit. Great trips require an adequate budget and time to plan so that your desires are fulfilled. We will do everything we can to ensure your journey becomes an enduring memory. This is Nomads Secretsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; pledge to you.
local community. Beyond the environmental issues, the visual pollution is a negative to tourism in one of the world’s most visited sites. The problem is that when the rains come and the lake floods, all this waste material is washed away (most of it will presumably reach the ocean) and out of sight becomes out of mind.
In Australia, a 15-year-old Sydney schoolgirl, Angelina Arora started a project to create an affordable and sustainable way of substituting plastics and also reducing seafood waste produced in India. This has led to her mentoring by the CSIRO and winning a BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Award.
To see so much non-biodegradable pollution is both heartbreaking and disconcerting, but things are starting to happen initiated more often than not by private enterprise first and then by governments. .
Researchers in Egypt and at Harvard’s Wyss Institute are also working on this safe and totally biodegradable solution.
In Siem Reap, the gateway to the world–famous Angkor temples, one hotelier started purifying water and supplying guests with refillable aluminium water bottles, with the aim of ultimately eliminating plastic bottles altogether. This led to a campaign, Refill not Landfill to reduce disposable water bottle waste with other hotels, restaurants and tourist operators joining in and setting up a growing network of refill stations that are now spreading to other areas in Cambodia. In Jaipur in India regular garbage trucks, now drive around the city with distinctive music blaring from their loudspeakers, announcing their arrival and encouraging people to bring out their refuse. This new initiative is certainly benefitting the city. When we were there in late January for the Literature Festival, we talked to locals who seemed proud of the improvements from the hygienic standpoint and in the look and feel of their city. We certainly noticed that Jaipur appeared considerably cleaner than when we visited a year ago. Some really interesting work is being done at the scientific level in developing bio-plastics from prawn shells. They consist of a hard yet flexible protein called chitosan, a version of chitin, the second most abundant organic material on the planet, that is found in fungal cells, insect exoskeletons, spider webs and crustacean shells.
Around the world governments are starting to act more consistently, with the British Prime Minister looking at eliminating all avoidable plastic waste in 25 years. 25 years maybe too long, but it is a start. In southern Europe Italy, France and Spain have joined the “Blue Flag” campaign to clean up their beaches, rivers and lakes and reduce plastic pollution in their environment. When an area becomes pristine again it is certified by the UNESCO and the UNWTO-recognised Danish organization FEE (Federation for Environmental Education). The certification provides not only a win for the environment and the local population, but for the traveller who can enjoy nature at its best. Certainly government action is essential worldwide, but we must add our voices and actions to ensure that we leave this extraordinary planet better than we found it I hope you enjoy the stories in this edition of Fellow Traveller and find stimulation for your future travels. Best wishes Lucia O'Connell
Story & images by Tony Sernack
The sheer magnitude of the site is extraordinary. Over 400 square kilometres within which are the remains of different capitals of the Khmer Empire. 8
e recently spent some time in Cambodia. Lucia had been there before but this was my first visit. Images of ancient Angkor temples, overgrown by the tropical jungle, have always fascinated me and I was excited to actually be there to see them.
Now one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s major tourist attractions, the Angkor temples, in the northern province of Siem Reap, attract more than 4 million people a year. Built by a powerful and sophisticated civilization, the complex dates back to the 7th century and was built over the next 600 years. Anyone who has been there (and even those who havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t) is acutely aware that this massive expansion in tourist numbers demands a very good guide and a smart approach to see these sites as they might have been when they were first rediscovered by the French naturalist Henri Mouhot around 150 years ago. The sheer magnitude of the site is extraordinary. Over 400 square kilometres within which are the remains of different capitals of the Khmer Empire. There are over a thousand temples, some small and in complete ruin through to the largest, Angkor Wat, which was built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II and, dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, is said to be the largest religious building in the world.
In 1866 John Thomson, a British photographer who had recently moved to Bangkok, travelled to Angkor. His images of the major temples of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and the Bayon first brought the wonders this ancient and unknown civilization to Great Britain. (He was elected to the Royal Geographical Society as a result). Thomson was closely followed by Frenchman Emile Gsell, who had a photographic salon in Saigon.
The world now knew of the extent of the Khmer capital and its elaborate temples with their Buddhist and Hindu influences. A much more contemporary event really massively changed the flow of tourism to the area: Lara Croft Tomb Raider. When this film was released in 2001, back dropped by the creeper fig-covered temple of Ta Prohm, it started a tourist hunger to discover Angkor. When the film was made there were only two international hotels in the nearby town of Siam Reap (and the film crew needed all the rooms). Today there are literally scores of hotels, many catering exclusively to the busloads of Chinese and Asian tourists for whom Angkor and Cambodia have become a major destination. We went well before dawn to watch the sun rise over the towers of Angkor Wat and got a seemingly prime position at the edge of one of the small lakes facing the temple and the rising sun. The crowd grew to be ten deep and then, at first light, the buses and the Chinese arrived en masse. After making some photographs we beat a retreat, our guide moving us away from and ahead of the hoards so we managed to see other parts of the temple in relative peace.
The same is true of all the other major attractions near Siem Reap. Ta Prohm is fantastic but be early. We went in the dark and at dawn had the temple almost to ourselves. I was able to photograph without the intrusion of selfie-obsessed humans. It is inescapable that once tourism takes hold and hotel facilities that cater for mass travel are developed, discerning travellers have to adapt through good planning and guidance. Sadly many tourists seem more interested in recording their every step on their phones via a selfie stick, rather than really trying to learn something about what is in front of their eyes. In our travels we seek quieter paths that are often even more revealing, interesting and beautiful than the obligatory photo-op stops. Where an attraction requires a little effort, or a walk to get to, the crowd thins out dramatically. Bus tour operators canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t allow people to wander too far or for too long! We drove around 50 kilometers northeast of Siem Reap to the Kulen Hills to the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;River of the 1000 Lingasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;; an archaeological site of a series of carvings in the sandstone of the river bed and rock banks. There is a climb up the hill of about 40 minutes from the car park, not overly onerous, but sufficiently so to deter the madding crowds of Angkor Wat.
The Kbal Spean River is a place a cultural and spiritual significance, a mix of Buddhist and Hindu culture where in the tenth century monks climbed the same paths to carve the thousand lingas and bas relief images of gods and goddesses in the rocks. The river ultimately feeds into Tonle Sap, Cambodiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest lake and water supply. The significance of the carving of these phallic symbols is associated with the purification of the waters. Our guide pointed out images of the great Hindu gods, Shiva, Brahma, Rama, Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi. The river is surrounded by deep jungle and we certainly felt more like adventurers than tourists. At one point our guide steered us into a dark cave and illuminated the wall to reveal ancient hieroglyphics chiseled in the stone by the monks over a thousand years ago.
...we were the first to enter the relatively small temple complex at Banteay Srei, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and exquisitely decorated by wonderfully detailed carvings. 15
Late in the day we visited Angkor Thom with its famous Terrace of the Elephants, part of the Royal Palace of Jayavarman VII from where the King would review parading troops. Fortunately by this time the tour buses had departed and we were able to explore the site without too many people about. Then on to the Bayon Temple with its towers and 216 giant faces. The faces are thought to be either a likeness of King Jayavarman VII or perhaps of Buddha. Jayavarman was a Buddhist unlike his predecessors who were Hindu. Late in the day with the sunlight warming towards sunset, this is a spectacular structure. Out very early the next morning and after a 25km drive we were the first to enter the relatively small temple complex at Banteay Srei, dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and exquisitely decorated by wonderfully detailed carvings. The quality of the workmanship is just mind-blowing. Of all the sites we visited this was my favorite. Our early arrival was again testimony to the knowledge of our guide. He also provided an excellent overview of the history of Angkor and its two most significant rulers (who we soon short handed to ‘Two’ and ‘Seven’). There is a lot to take in. This is an extraordinary place with a long, complex and, quite different history and culture that is particularly fascinating to westerners. Opting for a day on Tonle Sap Lake to see its floating villages, we didn’t have time to take the full day journey to the more remote temple of Koh Ker. Less visited and in deep jungle it will certainly be on the agenda next time.
One of the early explorers, Francis Garnier, remarked in his account of a French led expedition in 1866
I really hate when it’s hot outside. We finished a short stay in Angkor, despite our curiosity and all that remained to be discovered. These visits to the ruins whose grandeur and powerful originality were beyond anything that the most fertile imagination and the most marvelous stories had been able to foresee, had a charm that did not tire and defied satisfaction. Tropical vegetation that served as the backdrop for these impressive monuments gave something magical to their sudden appearance in the middle of the forest, and the unknown past that was suddenly evoked in memory opened the imagination to a broader scope where one could wander in his dreams of civilization.
I couldn’t say it better and look forward to returning and exploring some of the less travelled paths. u
SRI LANKA North of Negombo Every morning dozens of fishing boats return to Negombo, north of Colombo, to sell their catch on the beach. The same ritual occurs on beaches and seaside markets around the island nation. Much of the catch is then left to dry in the open air, either laid out on racks or on matting on the beach. The sun and wind remove the water from the fish and at the same time inhibits the growth of bacteria. The dried fish is then salted and has a storage life of a couple of years! Many Sri Lankans rely on dried fish as the main source of protein in their diet. It is used in soups, curries and many other dishes, exactly in the same way as fresh fish. â&#x2014;&#x2020; 18
Surendar Chand is reflected in the ground glass of his ancient Zeiss camera on the Streets of the famed Pink City of Jaipur in India.
Street Photography 19th Century Style 21
Brothers Tikam and Surendar Chand work as photographers in Jaipur. Their studio is on the street, on Hawa Mahal Road, just down from the famed Palace of the Winds and near the Johari Bazaar and its gold and gemstone traders. Here the Chand brothers operate a 19th century camera to take your portrait and provide you with a print on the spot. They use a 150-year-old Carl Zeiss box camera, a simple black cloth tied to a street railing as a backdrop, and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;in cameraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; on the pavement processing. The battered camera was originally their grandfatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. The processing method is as old. You pose and a photographic paper is exposed, developed by rubbing chemicals on the paper by hand in a small tray inside the camera. The paper negative is then itself photographed and the resulting positive image developed and fixed. The whole process, taking about 15 minutes, is a long long way from modern digital capture and produces a black and white image that looks almost as old as the camera itself. Nonetheless you walk away with a souvenir that is unique and an experience that is charming. u
i WITNESS ITALY Trulli, Alberobello Located at the top of the ’heel’ of southern Italy, Alberobello sits in the province of Bari. It boasts the oldest and greatest concentration of trulli (singular trullo), distinctive circular conical roofed houses dating back to the 14th century. The style of dry stone construction, without mortar, dates back to prehistoric times. The King of Naples at the time had imposed taxes on new settlements. The settlers adapted using a technique where they could quickly dismantle their homes and so thwart to King. Tax evasion is age old. The building technique was also well suited to the conditions in the region with its abundance of limestone, which was used in the construction. The trulli of Alberobello are UNESCO listed. ◆ 25
AU S T R A L I Aâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; S WOR L D C L A S S JEWELLER
Story & images by Tony Sernack
BAL ANCE, PROPORTION & BEAUT Y
Cerrone has become a global jewellery brand with clientele including Serena Williams, Barbara Streisand and Celine Dion. Started by Italian born Nicola Cerrone in 1972, Cerrone now has the largest handmade jewellery workshop in Australia producing custom designed pieces of the highest quality and workmanship, earning a multitude of international awards. Nic Cerrone is an ebullient, enthusiastic and engaging man. Fellow Traveller talked to Nic about the business, Argyle diamonds and his philosophy
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE BUSINESS? I came to Australia when I was 12. My father had come here first and I followed with my mother 3 years later. He was a farmer in Italy but got a job with Leyland in Roseberry. In those days it was seen to be more important to have a trade (than an education). My father worked a second job as a gardener for a guy who was a jeweller. He wasn’t an Italian but my father got me an apprenticeship and that was the start.
DID YOU LOVE THE WORK FROM THE BEGINNING? Well my first boss wasn’t easy and I soon realised that I really didn’t want to be just a jeweller. What interested me was being an artist. That eventually led me to join a German designer who was a true artist. He has been my mentor ever since and a demanding one at that. He taught me to appreciate balance, proportion and beauty. From there I developed the urge to learn, to achieve what the world could offer.
What interested me was being an artist.
That eventually led me to join a German designer who was a true artist.
HOW DID THAT DRIVE DEVELOP? Hard work and trying to do things differently, developing an edge. It is like having an extra note in your song. It is a privilege where one gets to cross bridges that lead to other opportunities. My Italian culture played a part. A foundation of common sense. Success comes with contribution, not entitlement.
YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE BUSINESS OVER 40 YEARS, HOW HAS IT CHA NGED? Technology is the big difference. Today we design on the computer and can 3D print the designs for casting. And the diamonds we use are exactly cut to size. When I started a one-point diamond might have varied say 10% and you had to deal with that in the setting. Nowadays they are all exactly the same. 29
DO YOU STILL M AK E PIECES YOURSELF?
HOW DID THE CER RONE BR A ND TAK E OFF?
Today I take more of an overview and provide a perspective. I see everything that goes on in the workshop. We have a great team and Cerrone is a team effort.
It has been a gradual process over 46 years, however about 20 years ago we had success in Japan with jewellery made with opals and pink diamonds and that changed things.
It is also important to bring new perspectives into the business. In the old days a master had a distinctive style but over time that could go out of fashion. Young people bring new and contemporary ideas. I want to stand back but I still provide input.
Australia was known for opal and Argyle pink diamonds were a new big thing. The most precious diamonds in the world.
You also have to let people make mistakes. That’s how you learn. But not too many mistakes.
Top jewellery and Australia however didn’t match up. Then a friend suggested a different positioning. An Italian jeweller working in Australia with Argyle pink diamonds. That set us apart, made Cerrone unique. In 1991 the Argyle Diamond Mine commissioned Cerrone to make a 230 carat ‘million dollar’ necklace incorporating hundreds of cognac, champagne and white diamonds that helped focus world attention to these unique stones.
A FEW DIA MOND FACTS Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on earth. They are the defining 10 at the top end of Mohs scale of hardness. The only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond. A dense crystal form of carbon, they are formed under extreme heat and pressure deep in the earths mantle (some 140 to 190km down!) and are brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions. These eruptions produce the kimberlite and lamproite pipes that are sought after by diamond prospectors. Geologists believe that the earth’s diamonds are over a billion years old and possibly up to three billion years old. The name comes from the Greek word ‘adamas’ meaning invincible or indestructible and diamonds were well recognised as the ultimate precious element in the ancient world. The first diamond engagement ring is thought to have been given by Archduke Maxmillian of Austria to Mary of Burgundy. A gold band with the letter M spelt out in diamonds. Out in the Milky Way there is a planet called “55 Cancri e” that scientists believe is one-third pure diamond. But better still a star has been discovered that is entirely a diamond of ten billion trillion trillion carats. And it has been given a much better name…. Lucy (as …in the sky with…)
SO CA N AUSTR A LIA M ATCH THE WOR LD’ S R ENOWNED JEWELLERY CENTR ES?
...A ND R ECOGNISED COUNTRIES HAVE A M A N Y CENTURIES HEAD START.
Australia is known for its raw materials. It does not have an artisan culture or reputation.
That’s true but we have achieved international recognition and have many famous overseas clients who can buy anywhere.
We are as good as anywhere in the world. We are not confident (as a country) in what we can do and the tall poppy thinking doesn’t help.
IT IS OBVIOUS THAT YOU STILL HAVE PLENT Y OF PASSION A ND DESIR E TO CONTINUE TO ACHIEVE. HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTUR E? The business is not about me, it about our team. Some people have been here 30, 40 years. We are also very active in developing younger people as apprentices. My family is involved in the business but everybody here is family. I am still driven by the art of jewellery.
An engagement (or dress) ring using Argyle pink diamonds
And doing things as well as possible. If it takes extra time then it takes extra time. u The Elizabeth Ruff for which Nic won the De Beers Award (the Oscars of the jewellery industry).
Copyright ÂŠ 2017 Rio Tinto.
THE ARGYLE MINE
Rough diamonds from the Argyle Diamond Mine
Located in the remote East Kimberley region of Western Australia, the mine has been operating since 1983. It is owned by Rio Tinto and is one of the largest suppliers of rough diamonds in the world. It is also the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s major source of coloured diamonds. However only around 5% of the mines production is gem quality.
Pink diamonds have become much sought after by collectors and investors. The company retains the finest stones to be cut and polished in Argyle's own facility in Perth and they are then sold by international tender. These exquisite signature stones vary in colour from pale pink to intense purple reds and command prices up to twenty times that of a white diamond.
The remaining known reserves at Argyle will underpin mining only until 2020. As the only significant source of pink and red diamonds undoubted the value of these rare stones can only rise.
The mine is one of Western Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unique attractions is open to guided tours from Kununurra. Visitors get a rare insight into a large-scale mining operation as well as the relationship with the sites traditional Aboriginal owners. There is much to see in this remote and rugged part of northern Australia including the spectacular Bungle Bungle Range (in Purnululu National Park). 33
i WITNESS FRANCE Grand Trianon, Versailles In 1668 the Sun King, Louis XIV annexed the small hamlet of Trianon as part of his grand plan for Versailles. Here he built a blue and white porcelain façaded palace as a retreat for himself and his mistress Madame de Montespan. When the façade had soon deteriorated, along with his relationship with his mistress as a result of her alleged involvement in l’affaire des poisons, Louis had the original palace demolished and the current much larger building constructed. The Grand Trianon sits in its own gardens in the north-west part of Versailles. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful buildings on the site. The king used it as a summer residence, holding dinner parties there for personal friends. ◆ 34
In 1998, Indonesian fishermen diving for sea cucumbers made an extraordinary discovery off Belitung Island in the Java Sea. They found a shipwreck of an Arab dhow. What was remarkable was the age of the vessel and the contents of its cargo. The discovery was to change the way we see the world of the 9th Century. The oldest wreck ever found was packed with over 60,000 ceramics made in China during the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD). Well packed inside storage jars, much of the cargo was in pristine condition, providing a whole new perspective on the development of global trade and the exchange of artistic influences. In addition to the ceramics, the wreck held many exquisite items of gold as well as spices and resins and provides not only a view of trade between China, Central Asia and Persia, but also reveals much of the lives of the traders and sailors.
Almost contemporary artwork on these Chinese-made bowls, clearly designed to appeal to Persian markets
Map showing the main maritime and overland trade routes connecting the Middle East with the Far East.
What has become known as the Tang Shipwreck has been described by John Guy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as...
" the richest and largest consignment of early ninthcentury southern Chinese gold and ceramics ever discovered in a single hoard." Now housed in an impressive display at the newly revamped Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore, the artefacts provide a window into the nature of a global trade. The construction of the dhow itself indicates its Persian Gulf origin. Around 18 metres long, its planks were sewn together using a thin rope made of coconut fibres rather than using the more traditional methods of pegs or nails used in Arabia in later centuries. The ship itself was remarkably well preserved as its timbers were under sediment. So much so that the ancient timbers could be analysed and their likely origins determined. While there are still some question marks, it is possible that the ship was constructed in western Asia and bought by Arabian merchants to be used for the Oman to China route. Indeed the vessel resembles a baitl qarib, a type of ship still found in Oman today.
It is her well-preserved cargo that is a true treasure. Essentially there are three types of ceramic bowls made in different parts of China. White-ware, from Ding kilns and including the earliest known intact underglaze blue and white dishes, Yue ware from Zhejiang Province and ceramics from Changsha amongst which one bowl was inscribed with a date "16th day of the seventh month of the second year of the Baoli reign", or 826 AD. What is particularly fascinating is the variety of designs, clearly made to appeal to the ultimate markets in Persia and the Middle East. They include inscriptions from the Koran and Buddhist lotus symbols. Other hand-painted designs are almost contemporary in appearance, showing faces with distinctly non-Chinese features with curly hair.
A Blue-and-white dish from around 830 AD. One of the earliest known blue and white wares found in China and in perfect condition.
The dhow was on its way home, having loaded up from its source factories in China, when it met disaster and sank about a kilometre off Belitung Island, not far from Singapore. The ship also held luxurious objects of gold and silver and other artefacts that may have been used for trading or as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;diplomaticâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; gifts. In addition, there were many ordinary objects probably belonging to the crew. The cargo tells us something of the entrepreneurial nature of the traders and also of their appreciation of what was in demand from consumers of their time and world. The Tang Shipwreck has led to a reappraisal of the nature of trading routes, especially for maritime trade and how, through the exchange of goods, ideas spread and cultures were influenced and developed over 1000 years ago. If you are in Singapore, a visit to the Asian Culture Museum is well worthwhile. u
A gold octagonal footed cup decorated with figures of Central Asian musicians and a dancer.
Long-necked ewer (right) probably from Henan Province, Gongxian kilns, with a spectacular dragonhead pouring spout.
Z I B
E R AR H E B
R U O I AV
...AT THE BORDER The Wagah border between Pakistan and India lies just west of Amritsar and east of Lahore in the divided Punjab. Every night just before sunset the security forces that guard the border enact an extraordinary flag lowering ceremony. In moves mirrored on both sides of the gates, the Indian Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers, perform a ritual drill that is, well, Monty Python-esq. Beyond the elaborate headdresses, dancelike marching and shows of defiance and muscle flexing aggression, what really makes the whole spectacle bizarre are the huge crowds packed into the substantial stadiums on either side of the border gates. Whipped up by cheerleaders, the crowd creates an atmosphere not unlike a soccer match between long time rival teams. Spectators wave flags, wear baseball caps emblazoned with their countries colours and cheer wildly as their military contingent flamboyantly march down the road to symbolically confront the enemy at the gates. This is a hot ticket everyday. On the evening we attended the ceremony, there were probably around 15,000 Indians and maybe half as many Pakistanis (although it was a little hard to see all of them from the Indian side). The show is so popular, that there are now plans to build a new stadium with much bigger capacity. 42
Frankly the whole thing is surreal, at least from a Western viewpoint. If you travel to Amritsar to see the magnificent Golden Temple, then this ritual at the border offers an extreme contrast and needs to be experienced. It is a mix of rivalry, nationalism, pride and also brotherhood all rolled together in what is understatedly described as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;colourfulâ&#x20AC;? ceremony. u
Contact Lucia today to plan your next adventure email@example.com www.nomadssecrets.com 1300 670 000 (Australia) +61 (1) 400 741 930 (Worldwide) 1 888 408 2480 (USA and Canada)
NURTURE YOUR SOUL Deepen your experience with the
benefit of a meticulously planned
and well-constructed journey allowing time to feel, absorb and put life into perspective
We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.